Bilingual is Better

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Yes, I´m selfishly using this space to get some advice from you.

I´m actually a bit nervous to even pose this question here because it almost seems obvious that my girl needs to attend a language immersion pre-school, but it´s not so black and white.

I´ve complained for years now that there are no viable language immersion pre-schools in the LA area.  For sure, none close to me.  So, when Camila turned 15 months I enrolled her in a family daycare where Spanish was spoken to her; she has been there since then and they have actually become like her second family.

In January of this year I enrolled her for three days a week in a small Montessori pre-school in the area.  We all felt it would be good for her to have more of a schedule and structure to her day. I wasn´t ready, and neither was she, to leave the daycare that is like home to her and where she receives a great dose of daily Spanish, so she still goes two days per week.

My girl has been doing so well at the Montessori and I´ve seen how their system has helped her focus, have more patience in completing tasks and being more independent overall.  She´s also opened up more in public where English is dominant because she can now easily communicate, and has the confidence, in both languages.

I was happy to have a great system going for us.  The plan was to keep this going until the 2012 school year where she would hopefully be accepted to one of the dual-language immersion programs  around town. We´re willing to move closer to whichever one she´s accepted into (most are a lottery system).

All of a sudden, our little plan has taken an unexpected twist.  Last month I got a call from Franklin Elementary Magnet School–our local public school that just last year became a dual-language magnet with programs in German, Italian and Spanish.  They finally, and due to popular demand, are offering a full-immersion Spanish preschool.  I was ecstatic when I got the call and flew over to enroll her.

So, what´s my dilemma, you ask?  Well, I am now hesitating because:

1)  Camila just went through an adjustment period from the daycare to the Montessori

2)  The preschool is taught 100% in Spanish and there is only a 5-days per week option.  This means I would have to pull her out of the Montessori.

3)  Camila gets 100% Spanish at home and throughout most of our interactions.  Again, very little English.

4)  The plan is that she will attend a dual-language school starting with kindergarten, no matter what.

I´m feeling I don´t want to take her out of a place where she´s thriving, growing, learning and feels really comfortable to take her to a completely new system only for her to get more Spanish. Consider that she already gets tons of exposure to Spanish and it is the language she prefers to speak, watch TV and movies in and be read.  She will be well-prepared to enter a dual-language program regardless if she goes to an immersion pre-school or not, or so I think.

Another side of me feels that this Spanish preschool is something I´ve been requesting and wanting and now I can´t/shouldn´t back down.  She will be at an advantage when she enters kindergarten because her Spanish reading and writing skills will be much higher. Does that even matter?

I would love to get your feedback because I am honestly stuck with this decision. What would you do?

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